Magician to Be Burned at Stake – We Hope Not

Inside Magic Image of Daniel GreenWolfReporter Patricia Villers of the New Hampshire Register reports on what will either be an incredible magic event or a very awkward start to the upcoming Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire.

Magician Daniel GreenWolf plans to be burned at the stake to promote the faire's opening.  

Actually, Mr. GreenWolf is hoping to escape before being consumed in flames before attendees. 

The event is set for  8:30 p.m. June 23. 

In an interview with the New Hampshire paper, he admitted the obvious up-front.  “It’s definitely a little stupid,” GreenWolf admitted in a phone interview Wednesday. “It’s something that has been in my head for a very long time.”

As we know from our latest probation hearing, just because you think something, you don't need to do it.

Nonetheless, Mr. GreenWolf plans on being locked affixed to a 12-foot wooden stake on a raised platform in an open field.  He will be secured by more than 100 feet of chain, locks and rope.

Shortly after the binding, the logs and tinder at his feet will be doused in gasoline.  An ignition source in the form of a burning torch will be rigged with a "medieval-style timer" and set to fall on the platform when time has expired.  

While there will be folks with fire extinguishers surrounding the platform, it is unlikely they will be able to save the magician from serious injury should things go afoul. 

He admitted the plan is “crazy, but with a very specific message.”  Mr. GreenWolf claims inspiration comes from his study of magic history and stories of magicians burned at the stake just for doing their job. "They were wrongfully accused” of being warlocks.

The town's mayor and fire official were not able to comment on the stunt.  They were just hearing of Mr. GreenWolf's plans. 

Fire Marshal Ralph Tingley said he had not yet heard about the stunt. “(GreenWolf) needs to talk to me,” Tingley said. “I need to know what’s involved here.” He said state permits may be required.

Mr. GreenWolf said 10 percent of the event’s proceeds will go to the Against Malaria Foundation, which provides underdeveloped countries with much-needed supplies to combat malaria.

If you are in the area, you can check out the escape attempt as well as the The Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire on weekends from June 23 to July 8. 

Learn more about the Faire here:

Visit Mr. GreenWolf's excellent website here:

Dean Gunnarson’s Frigid and Fiery Chinese Escape Attempt

Inside Magic Image of Escape Artist Dean GunnarsonUPDATE:  According to CJOB 68: Manitoba's Information Superstation, Dean Gunnarson survived and succeeded just minutes ago.

Escape Artist and Inside Magic Favorite Dean Gunnarson is back in China and freezing.

His latest escape attempt defies both belief and the naturally imprinted sense of self-preservation.  Mr. Gunnarson's had him miles high in the frigid mountains of  Xining, China.  (Think Superman's crystal home or Wolverine's den).

He intended to be locked and chained by the Chinese military inside a tomb of ice on a frozen lake high in the mountains. His goal: to escape within 100 seconds before a bus explodes and drops on him. 

From the press release:

Locked and chained by the Chinese military inside of a tomb of ice on a frozen lake high in the mountains in China. A ten ton bus loaded with explosives will be raised above him by a crane and then, Gunnarson will have exactly 100 seconds (an important number in China) before the bus will explode and drop on him from a timer, crushing the ice tomb and him if he  is inside. Dean will attempt this escape on a frozen lake that is the largest in all of China.  It is located about 100 kilometers (about 62 miles)  west of the provincial capital of Xining at 3,205 m (10,515 feet) above sea level in a depression of the Tibetan Plateau in the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo, located between Tibet and Mongolia.  This escape is extremely dangerous because of the cold but even more so from the high evaluation and lack of oxygen this high up.

Mr. Gunnarson told Inside Magic that he has been training in the thin air but it brought on altitude sickness.  “The lack of air and trying to do even small things just leaves me grasping for breath. This is like nothing I have ever encountered before.”

If he lives, the Chinese government will award him  the title "World's Greatest Escape Artist."   If he fails, he will likely not be given the title of World's Greatest Escape Artist.  We're just guessing about this.  The Chinese press did not discuss what happens if the bus explodes and lands on him whilst still chained.

As loyal readers of Inside Magic know, Mr. Gunnarson is a very scary man.  He seems so nice and gentlemanly but there's a crazy side to him.  He does stunts that are anything but sure-fire or fixed.  Check out his mistiming while trying to escape from a roller coaster track.   That escape (sort of) was in China as well.  We hope he has correctly converted the 100 seconds into the metric equivalent and escapes unharmed.  The roller coaster collision shattered his ankle and fibia.

Continue reading Dean Gunnarson’s Frigid and Fiery Chinese Escape Attempt

Escape Artist Gunnarson Takes Australia by Storm

Inside Magic Image of Dean Gunnarson Chained to High Speed Roller Coaster Track - An Escape that Nearly Took his  LifeAccording to press accounts, this is Inside Magic Favorite Dean Gunnarson’s first tour of Australia and judging from the favorable press, it will certainly not be his last.

But then again, as an escape artist with a penchant for pushing the envelope with no concern for paper cuts, Mr. Gunnarson comes harrowingly close to making every performance his last.

Inside Magic readers will no doubt recall Mr. Gunnarson’s near-death experience in China last year.  He was able to free himself of the shackles and came very close to clearing the hurtling roller-coaster and landing safely on a stunt cushion.

Somewhere we heard that Force is equal to Mass times Acceleration.

We don’t know if that is true or if it is just the kooky theories cooked up by the crazy kids in their college classes.

But assuming there is a positive correlation between mass, acceleration and force, a steel framed roller coaster traveling at  62 miles per hour would likely bring a significantly larger force to bear on a human leg than would the human leg impose on said roller coaster.

You can see what happens when little mass and little acceleration meet big mass and big acceleration by visiting the frame-by-frame Zapruder-esque footage of the escape attempt here.

Continue reading Escape Artist Gunnarson Takes Australia by Storm

Cannon’s Great Escapes to Shutter

We received some very disappointing news from Inside Magic Favorites Mark and Shelia Cannon, owners of our favorite place to shop for escape gear. Mark Cannon has brought fear and exhilaration to the plaque encrusted and otherwise jaded hearts of magicians and laity worldwide.

The good news: Mark and Shelia Cannon will continue to perform.

The bad news: Cannon’s Great Escapes will vanish forever at the end of this month. (Remember that June has only 30 days when calculating your cash flow / opportunity cost ratios).

The good news (for them): by closing the shop, Shelia will be able to focus on her work as a vacation specialist.

The good news (for Shelia’s clients): Mark and Shelia Cannon have performed almost everywhere on this allegedly round planet. They know the good, the bad, and the poorly maintained villas and outposts. Armed with this knowledge, Shelia can guide her clients to an enjoyable respite and avoid the traps set for those booking with less-experienced agents.

The shop will shutter forever in a little more than two weeks but the goods are going quickly. They will not be ordering additional stock and many items are completely sold out; and the additional markdowns only encourage the frenetic “shark smells blood, shark follows blood, shark creates more blood” behavior shopkeepers love.

We lusted for their Cannon’s Strong Box Escape for years. When we heard the store was closing, we rushed to the site as fast as our gas-powered laptop would go. Alas, we were too late. This incredible escape was gone. We cursed aloud because we were miffed, positively ticked that we waited too long to get something we knew we wanted. We hoped this taught us a lesson for the future. It serves us right.

Mark and Shelia Cannon are two of our very favorites. They have always been helpful and cooperative with this on-line scandal sheet. We have thanked them and their attorneys several times for their willingness to drop otherwise meritorious lawsuits in exchange for our issuing a retraction or clarification – or, when it got really bad, openly weeping in a YouTube appeal to their better natures.

Continue reading Cannon’s Great Escapes to Shutter

Housewife Escapes Boredom and Cuffs

Inside Magic Image of Donna Purnell as Alexandria the Great Escape ArtistCBS News reports on Donna Purnell a/k/a Alexanderia the Great whom they describe as “housewife by day, escape artist by night.”
The network relates the story of two ordinary folks who loved to escape from rope, handcuffs and chains as they courted in their youth.
Now, with their children out of the house, they avoid the empty nest syndrome by trying more complex, more daring escapes.
Donna Purnell trains with a strength coach and a “holding breath coach.”
In the unbearably cutesy narrative, the home of Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather and Edward R. Murrow relates how her family reacted to learn of her new vocation.

“[H]er kids like the idea of having an escape artist mom – in fact, they were relieved to find out that’s all she is.
“We would walk around the house and we’d see chains and handcuffs in places,” said her daughter.
Apparently, compared to that image – seeing your mom trapped in a tank of water is nothing.

Man oh man are we cynical here at Inside Magic. This is a story that did not need the following saccharine phrases:

“She felt like her hands were tied. And it motivated her to start thinking inside the box.”
“A few of her friends think she’s jumped off the deep end.”
“Donna and the kids hope that this act and the story behind it serve as inspiration to you – to escape whatever it is you’re stuck in.”
“It’s quite a predicament – especially considering, originally, all she wanted to escape – was boredom.”

Here is our twisted take on the reporting of this story. The author apparently believes these stunts are foolproof; that no one ever drowns whilst being tied, locked, and cuffed within 700 gallons of very cold water (Boston – Outside – Winter). Whether the artist is 49 or 14, this is a story about guts. Donna has our respect not simply because she risks her life performing escapes she learned later in life; but that’s a lot of it.
Dean Gunnarson told us once that there is no “automatic” escape and there is no “safe” escape when water is involved.

Continue reading Housewife Escapes Boredom and Cuffs